WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today announced that the Environmental Protection Agency is releasing its selected remedy addressing key components of the Tar Creek Superfund Site. The EPA’s remedy includes both the completion of voluntary relocation assistance for the area residents and continued chat sales. In the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, Senator Inhofe included a provision directing the EPA to reconsider including resident relocation in its upcoming remediation plan, and provided them the legal authority required to include voluntary relocation in the plan. The EPA has acted upon Senator Inhofe’s legislation and has now included relocation in its selected remedy.
“This announcement marks landmark progress for the people living in the area of the Tar Creek Superfund Site. The EPA’s latest remediation plan not only addresses necessary clean up of soil and water contamination from chat piles and wastes at the site, it also announces the completion of relocation assistance for the residents living in the Tar Creek communities. I am pleased to have worked closely with Congressman Dan Boren, Governor Brad Henry and the members of the Lead Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust to begin to offer voluntary relocation assistance for these residents. I appreciate the work of EPA Regional Administrator Richard Greene and his staff, Chairman of the Quapaw Tribe John Berrey and I look forward to continue working with state and federal parties to complete this necessary assistance.
“Another important component of this plan is the continued chat sales at the site. Nearly 100 years of mining in the Tar Creek Superfund site produced millions of tons of mine waste known as chat. However, chat can be a resource and used as an aggregate in roadway construction, and I included a section in the federal highway bill enacted in 2005 directing the EPA to develop rules on the use of chat in transportation construction projects.”
Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry:
“This is more good news for the people in the Picher and Cardin areas. We know we still have a long road ahead, but this certainly makes the light at the end of the tunnel significantly brighter. This has been a long, difficult process and there will be more challenges ahead, but we are doing the right thing in delivering relief to the families in the Tar Creek area.”
"This master plan will ensure a coordinated commitment to permanently clean up the Tar Creek Superfund site. This announcement reaffirms years of hard work by local, Tribal, State and federal partners. I am pleased to part of this monumental occasion," said Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. "Senator Inhofe has been a longtime champion for these communities and instrumental in bringing about this final clean up plan."
Senator Inhofe has secured federal funding for both environmental clean up of the Tar Creek Superfund site and relocation assistance for area residents administered by the Lead Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust (LICRAT). In 2005, Senator Inhofe commissioned and funded the US Army Corps of Engineers to complete a subsidence study to identify areas in the Tar Creek Superfund Site at risk from cave-ins. The Army Corps of Engineers completed and issued its subsidence evaluation in January 2006. LICRAT has and continues to use the subsidence evaluation to determine the order of areas for relocation assistance. Based upon the subsidence evaluation, Senator Inhofe authored an amendment redirecting the remaining $19 million of previously appropriated funds for Tar Creek clean up to be used for resident voluntary relocation assistance. Senator Inhofe also included an additional $6.4 million in the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008 providing additional funding for relocation assistance.